This is part of several posts I’m doing about the uncommonly-mentioned – but incredibly prominent – aspects of visiting Israel… or any country, come to think of it. I seem to notice the unusual things when travelling, and I may well have discovered an unhealthy predilection for toilets.
Israelis are pretty keen on recycling. (Palestinians not so much). Israel is the first place I’ve visited which has bottle depositories – aside from the Northern Territory, no other state in Australia even has bottle depositories. Unlike here in South Australia, however, Israelis don’t get 10c (or 30 hundredth-shekels?) for depositing their bottles.
Across the entire country, bottle depositories look like this, and appear basically on every street corner and in every public park:
That’s one in Tel Dan (Golan) and two (with blue rooves) in Tiberia (Galilee). Isn’t that cheery? If only rubbish bins looked like that all over the world.
Bottle depositories in Tel Aviv, however, were for some reason much plainer. A little larger, admittedly, but much plainer.
And, on the topic of public parks, there are a lot of them. In Israel, there are basically two town-planning styles: the Arab way and the Jewish way. The Arab way is much more organic, which houses being added and grown as necessary. It’s a little charming, and reminiscent of the way old cities across Europe were built centuries ago, and has the same result: tightly-packed houses in a cement maze.
The Jewish style smacks of socialist 1960s Europe. It features tall apartment buildings, all uniform and in rows, interspersed with stretches of green public space. It’s cleaner, and neater, but it feels a little clinical – although at least they have the parks.
Although the motel in Ein Gev had driers, I understand from some of the other tourists there that this isn’t the norm. From my observations in towns, this seems to be true – Israelis, like Australians, hang their washing out to dry.
They don’t do it on overlarge umbrellas like we do, though. As you can see from this photo taken in Ber Sheva, washing is hung straight out of the window. While you do see this in the city in Australia, most windows in an Israeli apartment block are equipped with metal bars – not to keep robbers out, but to stop children calling out and dying. These cages form the perfect place to hang washing to dry.